Yesterday, research from Australia was released linking Vitamin B3 supplements with the prevention of miscarriage and birth defects.
In this new study, researchers from the Victor Chang Institute in Sydney, Australia, investigated why some women have multiple miscarriages and why some babies are born with heart, kidney and spinal defects.
Researchers analysed DNA from four families where the mothers had suffered multiple miscarriages or their babies were born with multiple birth defects, such as heart, kidney, vertebrae and cleft palate problems.
Mutations were found in two genes that caused the child to be deficient in a vital molecule known as Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which allows cells to generate energy and organs to develop normally.
Lead researcher Prof Sally Dunwoodie replicated these mutations in mice but found they could be corrected if the pregnant mother took niacin (vitamin B3).
"You can boost your levels of NAD and completely prevent the miscarriages and birth defects. It bypasses the genetic problem," she said. "It's rare that you find a cause and a prevention in the same study. And the prevention is so simple, it's a vitamin," she said.
This exciting research highlights the need for more research in this area, with our chief executive, Jane Brewin noting;
"The latest research study which has linked Vitamin B3 deficiency to miscarriage and birth defects has once again illustrated the need to inform all women and their partners about the need for good nutrition before they plan a pregnancy.
Much research effort has gone into modifying diet and other lifestyle behaviours during pregnancy when people are uniquely motivated to change their habits for the benefit of their baby – but we know that this is often too late.
All young people need to be informed and encouraged to eat a healthy balanced diet and take regular exercise, so that when they plan a pregnancy they are in optimal health to sustain their own health and that of their baby. This will have the biggest impact on improving health during pregnancy and beyond for both mother and child."
While scientists are optimistic about these findings, they do recommend taking the research with a grain of salt, due to the results being based on the genetics of four families and mice.
Find all the information you will need for getting pregnancy ready.
Are you worried or concerned? Call Tommy’s midwives for more advice on 0800 0147 800 (open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm)
Read the original BBC article here.